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President's Blog - February 2012

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From the President

Greetings ACS colleagues,

January has been an incredibly busy month, with lots of events and general business appearing to be on the move. To that end this issue is a very full one indeed. So enjoy the read and please let me have your comments and if there's anything specific you'd like us to talk about in future issues, don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

Some time ago I was asked, via an interview, for an opinion on gender equality in our industry. I think it relevant that I share my comments with you all on the subject.

1. Why is gender equality important in the screen industry?

It's vitally important, but not because it's supposed to be the right thing to do, and it shouldn't become a defining issue. Our industry needs to be constantly stimulated with new thoughts, new ways to do things, to stay motivated and balanced across a broad cross section of the industry. We cannot let past bias influence what we do in these current times or into the future. There is a place for all genders, all philosophies at the table, in order for us to learn and grow together.

2. What is the current state of gender equality in Australia?

I actually think it's not too bad. The right people seem to be getting the jobs, what there is of it, no matter what the gender. I work on projects where the camera department particularly, includes both genders in key roles. Admittedly you very rarely see a female Gaffer or Grip, but having said that, I've worked with women in both the Electrics and Grips departments, albeit in an assistants' capacity.

3. Why are some specific occupations (directors, producers, production designer, etc) apparently more attractive to women while others (cinematographers, visual effects, post-production) are not?

I don't necessarily think that is the case. Sure, there still exists a stereo typical approach in some fields, but I have to say that each day more women are filling the roles in what has been, in the past a male dominated area. In my field, cinematography there are more women studying and breaking into the field than ever before. This is due in part to the groundbreaking work done by other women here in Australia, Jan Kenny ACS, Mandy Walker ACS, Anna Howard ACS, Velinda Wardell ACS, Leilani Hannah ACS and many more. Incidentally the letters "ACS" after their names indicates they are an Accredited member of the Australian Cinematographers Society, which means they are among the best in their field.

4. What can a) the industry, b) the government, do to promote gender balance in Australia's film/TV?

I don't know the ultimate answer, but the industry must continue to encourage women in all ways possible. As for Government….not too sure about that.

5. Why is gender equality important in this sector, and how can your own organization help?

It's not so much about gender equality, it's more about what people bring to the table. Women do bring another view, another perspective, in all departments. They challenge you to listen to their opinions and their ideas. We believe that the Society already helps by fostering, educating and encouraging all students, to persevere and not give up the dreams they have to becoming a cinematographer.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject, so please email me at

Hall of Fame

It is with great pleasure that I inform you all of the 2012 inductees into the ACS HALL OF FAME. All three are from the Victorian Branch and I offer them my congratulations and thank them for the contribution they have made to the Society and the Australian Film and Television industry:

- David Eggby ACS
- David Muir ACS BSC
- Barry Woodhouse ACS

These very worthy recipients, will be presented with their Hall of Fame certificates at the ACS National Awards for Cinematography on Saturday, May 5 at the Manly Pacific Hotel.

Using the Letters

I've noticed recently that some of our Accredited members are not using the letters ACS correctly. They should be used directly after your name, horizontally, no full stops between letters, all caps and the font size should be the same size as the persons name, or you could for aesthetics decrease the font size of the letters by 2 points. But that is all.

eg. John Smith ACS

Here endeth the lesson!


Congratulations to Brian Breheny ACS for his Screamfest Award, which recognised his wonderful cinematography on Paul China's film "CRAWL".

Since completing "Crawl", Brian was in Port Douglas for 3 weeks shooting the title sequence and aerial scenes for "Reef Doctors."

After Christmas he started Directing TVCs in South East Queensland.

Take a peek at the Crawl trailer on the film's website.

AACTA Awards Luncheon

David Wakeley ACS and I were among around 600 others who were present at the inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards luncheon. On behalf the Society I congratulate all artists and craftspeople who were the recipients of awards at the first of two inaugural Awards events.

I also congratulate our very own Don McAlpine ACS ASC, who was the recipient of the AACTA Raymond Longford Award. Don's acceptance speech, with wife Jeanette at his side, was incredibly moving and inspirational. Something we've come to expect from Don, who is a wonderful ambassador for the Australian industry. Don's Acceptance speech is on the ACS web site, it truly is a speech to be read and enjoyed

Don McAlpine ACS ASC accepts the Raymond Longford Award

Congratulations to Robert Humphreys ACS on winning the AACTA Award for Cinematography for "The Hunter". Shot on location in Tasmania, the beautiful images compliment the story and create a visual environment for the actors to work in.

Congratulations also to former Queensland ACS member, Ivan Sen who received the Byron Kennedy Award. Ivan told the audience that he has rediscovered his passion for filmmaking, thankfully for us and to the benefit of our industry.

The televised Samsung AACTA Awards Ceremony, was held at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday 31 January, and the ACS congratulates all the recipients of AACTA Awards. Results are on the ACS web site.

Finally, isn't it great to see Ricky Ponting amongst the runs again!

Until next time,

Ron Johanson ACS
National President


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